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The International Council of Advocates and Barristers (ICAB) is the forum for members of independent referral bars around the world. A referral bar is a group of barristers or advocates practising in a particular jurisdiction. They take pride in their independence and their expertise is sought because they specialise in the oral presentation of cases and in related advice and drafting work. They generally acknowledge themselves to be bound by the ‘cab-rank rule’ under which they are precluded from refusing instructions on the ground that the nature of the case, or the conduct, opinions or beliefs of a prospective client, are publicly controversial or unacceptable to the advocate.Objectives of ICAB include:

  • To promote and maintain the rule of law
  • To promote the effective administration of justice
  • To encourage the continued existence and growth of an independent Bar in the jurisdictions of the Council’s members and elsewhere
  • To promote, maintain and improve the interests and standards of advocates and barristers
  • To enable advocates and barristers to communicate their views on matters affecting them
  • To arrange and promote continuing legal education

The first World Bar Conference was held in Edinburgh in 2002 with 7 conferences being held since then. The 2020 World Bar Conference will be held in Hong Kong on 7-9 April.

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